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Factors influencing student progression in built environment and engineering programs: Case of Central Queensland University
In higher education, progression should be conceptualized in multiple dimensions, rather than just the institutional statistical view. The objectives of this research are to identify the multiple domains of progression and examine the effects of variables influencing progression. To achieve these objectives, a questionnaire survey was performed with 218 students in built environment and engineering programs at Central Queensland University. The majority of these students use distance learning. This research proposes a concept of progression with four domains: subject, qualification, career, and professional progression. Also, 17 variables that influence progression were identified and categorized into three factors: information technology (IT) adoption, interaction, and personal pressure. Structural equation modeling was used to analyze the data, and the results indicated that personal pressure negatively influenced progression, while interaction contributed to progression. Although IT adoption did not directly influence progression, it positively influenced interaction and thus indirectly influenced progression. Finally, a framework was developed to describe interrelationships among the influential variables and progression. The implications drawn from the analysis results allow academic staff and university management to take actions to enhance student progression, which contribute to the practice. In addition, the method adopted in this research can be employed in other research of a similar nature. This study can significantly contribute to the literature relating to progression in higher education by proposing a more holistic concept of progression and identifying the interrelationship among the variables influencing progression.